If you have children you know that eventually you will need to hire someone to care for them when you have work,errands or just need a date night with your spouse. Sometimes it is possible to use someone your child already knows like a close friend,a family member or a teenager of a family you know and trust.But in this busy world we live in that’s not always going to be possible. Now I have no children of my own,but I have worked for plenty of families who have expressed how difficult it is for them to leave their precious little ones with anyone but themselves especially if they just hired the person, and I totally understand that.
Being a professional nanny I have seen it all from the kids who ignore me when I walk in, to the kids who have an absolute fit at just the sight of me. No matter the reaction, the build up to your child meeting the caregiver for the first time and the actual meeting can be extremely stressful for you , your caregiver, and your little one.
How can you fix that or at least make it easier on everyone? Very good question. Here are 3 steps that, if followed, can tip the scales from “Oh No!” to “Oh Yeah!” In this potentially awkward and stressful situation.
1) Meet the Caregiver Beforehand (without your kids)- Meeting with your caregiver away from your children and in advance will give you extra time to get to know each other and for you to make sure they are hearing everything you say. Use the time to talk about your kids, their biggest likes and dislikes, how time outs work, and how they interact with each other. This is also a great time to mention any hard and fast rules like , the kids are not allowed in your bedroom or no going outside at night; things like that. Also make sure there is time for them to ask any of their own questions and have them tell you more about themselves. maybe even ask if they have anything planned for your kids first day with them. When meeting beforehand isnt possible try a phone call or have them come a half hour early on the day you need them just so you can go over things with them. In the end anytime you can spend educating your caregiver on the needs and rules of your home and getting to know them will make it easier for both of you.
2)Talk to Your Child About the New Caregiver– Whether it’s a new one or the first time ever get your kid excited. Tell your kids all the things you learned about their new caregiver,their name,what they like to do, the fun things they are going to do together and especially how much you like them. If you have a picture show it to them. That will help them become familiar with the new caregiver’s face so when the time comes to meet them it will be less scary. Do this a few days in advance and keep hyping it up as the day gets closer. This way by the time your child actually meets the new person they wont be so shocked or scared.
3)Have Your Children Meet Them Before you Leave– Even if they are excited beforehand, the first meeting can involve all kinds of reactions from excitement to a total breakdown. If you can plan the first meeting for at least a day before your plans or even have the caregiver come an hour early that day this will help aleviate any lasting fear your little ones may have. Doing this means a child will meet them with you there and get used to them while they know you’re still around, even if you’re in another room. It allows your child and their new caregiver to bond while they talk, play or explore all the fun things the caregiver has in store for the day. By the time you are ready to go, the caregiver will be comfortable with the child, you will be calmer just being able to hear how well it’s going and your child will have a new friend to play with while you are away.
Oh no! It didn’t work: If you end up doing all these steps or you just didn’t have time to do them and the first meeting is a disaster, Don’t worry everything will be ok. sometimes it doesn’t work out the way we would like it to. Just remember that the next time will be better, and that your experienced caregiver knows what to do to make sure your little one is smiling again as soon as possible. If you’re really worried have them text you once your little one is calm again and having fun, that will help ease your nerves so you can focus on the rest of your day.
Expert Tip: If you are really worried about the first meeting have your child pick out their very favorite activity to play with you. When the caregiver arrives, invite them to join in the fun. Then when it’s time for you to go, the caregiver will pick up where you left off.
Whether this is your first time hiring a caregiver or the 10th I hope these tips and steps make that first meeting a whole lot less stressful for everyone involved. Do you have any tips or tricks that have worked for you? If you do I would love to hear about them. If these steps worked for you or even if they didn’t I want to know! I love hearing anything you have to say.